Gabriele Skucas starts each collection as if she were a children’s book illustrator, imagining playful characters and drawing their romantic worlds. The stories centre around the innocent fantasies of young girls: a single house with a white picket fence, raindrops falling out of a clear blue sky, a bed of red roses... Symbols of childlike naivieté which are then brought to life through crochet. The Lithuanian-born designer executes the demanding, laborious process with an almost masochistic obsession ‒ it can take up to a month to make a single piece. She has mastered the ancient technique to perfection, controlling every detail of her meticulously crafted designs, which leads to an innate purity. The cozy vests and long dresses could be part of any wardrobe, anywhere in the world.
But don’t mistake the simplicity of her designs for minimalism. If Gabriele goes searching for plainness, it is to cloak an interior complexity. Contradicting dreams, hopes and fears rage inside each of us, invisible to the outside. Nostalgia is a way to cope with that inner turmoil. In the face of chaos, a single sweater can become a source of comfort. And so, these meticulously crafted pieces evoke a sense of darkness through what they’re designed to soothe: growing pains and a loss of innocence.
This vulnerability and honesty became a focal point in the collaboration with creative directors Jean-Baptiste Talbourdet and Lolita Jacobs. Just like the garments, the images are precise and direct, sincere like the pages of a diary. The suggestion of Sasha de Sade, trans icon and porn star, came from photographer Thurstan Redding. The model’s personal and emotional journey lays bare beneath the calmness. Thus, these images expose what is at the heart of Gabriele’s work: a girl and her body, and all the complex desires they might conceal.